SBA Announces $3 Million for 60 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Recipients Supporting Startups and STEM Focused Entrepreneurs

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Release Date: September 25, 2019

Release Number: 19-51


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SBA Announces $3 Million for 60 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Recipients Supporting Startups and STEM Focused Entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced 60 winners of SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  The recipients, representing accelerators and incubators across 39 states and territories focused on a broad set of industries and sectors, will receive a total of $3 million in awards to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations. 


“I am proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Over the past five years, the competition has provided awards to innovative and promising accelerators and incubators. This year’s recipients, who will each receive an award of $50,000 from the SBA, are no exception,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “This includes entrepreneurs located in Opportunity Zones – where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”


The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition will infuse the accelerators and incubators with additional operating capital to provide focused assistance to entrepreneurs. This assistance includes support for company formation as well as awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Notably, the prizes are not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses.


This year’s award recipients will focus at least 60 percent of their Competition-related work to entrepreneurs who represent one of the following groups: women; socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; entrepreneurs living in or whose businesses are located and operate in states with a lower number of SBIR/STTR awards, or in an Opportunity Zone. By focusing the accelerators’ and incubators’ efforts on these entrepreneur groups, SBA aims to increase the pipeline of future SBIR/STTR applications and STEM-related innovations.


Applicants to the Competition submitted a brief presentation deck and an optional two-minute video outlining the organization’s overall approach, experience working with the targeted entrepreneur group, and key metrics that will be used to evaluate the success of the proposed plan. Applications were judged by panels of experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. 


Winners within the SBA’s Los Angeles District Office service area (covering Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties) are Bixel Exchange Startup LAunch and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).


Kat Yalung, Director of Bixel Exchange Startup LAunch states: “As a winning recipient, we’re excited to highlight our focus of supporting underrepresented founders in tech in the Opportunity Zones of Los Angeles. We know talent is equally distributed and opportunity is not, therefore the award allows us to ensure access to social, emotional and financial capital in greater LA region for underestimated entrepreneurs. Our team serves 300 startups annually and we are honored to have an incredible community to level the playing field in entrepreneurship and use it as a force for good!”


LACI’s CEO Matt Peterson commented "Thanks to the support of the Small Business Administration's grant, we can further our work to build an inclusive green economy. We can expand our programs, such as Women in Cleantech and Founders Business Accelerator, to ensure that the cleantech ecosystem reflects the incredible diversity of LA and benefits all Angelenos."


For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and a full list of award winners past and present, visit: and



About the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

A total of $3,000,000 was appropriated to be awarded as prizes to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Each prize of $50,000 provides operational funding to the awardee for their work in supporting startup businesses. The Competition was conducted by SBA pursuant to the government wide prize competition authority known as the America COMPETES Act (15 U.S.C. 3719). Additional information can be found at and



SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $3.7 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit


About Bixel Exchange Center for Innovation & Technology  

Talent is equally distributed. Opportunity is not. The Bixel Exchange connects talent to opportunity through entrepreneurship and workforce development. Through Its core programs, the L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline, the Startup LAunch Technology SBDC, and Thought Leadership Events, the Center has been established as a true backbone organization in the local technology ecosystem. Since its inception the Center has provided 600+ predominantly underrepresented entrepreneurs with one-on-one mentorship, helped them to collectively raise $30+ million in investment, supported the creation of 1200+ jobs, placed 459 youth in paid internships, engaged 15,500+ underserved community college youth through work-based learning, and cultivated 60+ employer partners.

About Startup LAunch Tech SBDC

The Startup LAunch Tech SBDC is an impact driven tech incubator that arms ventures with non-equity and no cost advising, community and access to resources for underrepresented entrepreneurs in the public, private and tech space. We empower ALL entrepreneurs to sustainably grow while building an inclusive technology ecosystem within the greater Los Angeles region. We know it takes a village to raise a startup and the power of community. Team of 40 paid advisors that represent Los Angeles unique diversity and skills provide long term one on one advising in partnership with fellow incubators, accelerators, angel networks, and investors. Advising 275+ diverse tech startups and training 1500+ annually, Startup LAunch works with more entrepreneurs than any other incubator in Los Angeles.